Officials recruited to develop 'humane response' to refugees

A YOUTH lobby group has recruited a raft of former high-level officials, including former defence force chief Chris Barrie, to push for more caring asylum-seeker policies.

The group, Australia21, on Wednesday launched a project to form more humanitarian policies when Australia deals with incoming asylum seekers.

Other high-flyers the group has recruited include former Liberal leader John Hewson and the former secretary of defence Paul Barrett, who will write essays on improving the treatment of refugees by Australian authorities.

The project aims to "develop a decent humane response" to the rising tide of asylum seekers searching for refuge in Australia.

A series of essays by numerous experts in the area - including Professor Louise Newman, the chairwoman of the government's Detention Expert Health Advisory Group - will be published.

The key issue the project aims to address is the root causes driving people to become refugees, rather than simply dealing with them once they seek asylum in Australia.

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